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The Black Prism

(Lightbringer #1)

4.24  ·  Rating details ·  79,521 ratings  ·  3,734 reviews
Guile is the Prism, the most powerful man in the world. He is high priest and emperor, a man whose power, wit, and charm are all that preserves a tenuous peace. Yet Prisms never last, and Guile knows exactly how long he has left to live.

When Guile discovers he has a son, born in a far kingdom after the war that put him in power, he must decide how much he's willing to pay
Hardcover, 629 pages
Published August 25th 2010 by Orbit (first published 2010)
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Bodi Yuhico I hated the Way of Shadows: especially because of it's immaturity, it's characters' immaturity, the treatment of women, the inconsistent magic system…moreI hated the Way of Shadows: especially because of it's immaturity, it's characters' immaturity, the treatment of women, the inconsistent magic system and the way most of the plot seems to have been made up as it went along.

The Lightbringer series shows just exactly how Weeks has progressed as a writer. ALL the things I hated in Way of Shadows have been resolved. It's an incredibly well-thought out series, kind of reminiscent to Brandon Sanderson.(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Damon Dickons The knife used by Kip and only a few others was called the Blinding Knife. My theory on this is because it grows along with it's owner's abilities…moreThe knife used by Kip and only a few others was called the Blinding Knife. My theory on this is because it grows along with it's owner's abilities (Kip's abilities) and that it is called the Blinding Knife also because it takes away the colours that the person who was stabbed can draft while transfering them to the blade.(less)

Community Reviews

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4.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  79,521 ratings  ·  3,734 reviews

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Emily (Books with Emily Fox)
Update: It's a bit sad (but not really surprising) that I have to defend my position after giving multiple examples especially after plenty of other people have come forward and agreed.

I'm not going to argue with people who haven't read the book (seriously?). There's a huge difference between a sexist world/character and a sexist author.

An author is able to create a fantasy world with a different map, magic system, religion but can't help himself and has to respect the status quo about sexism. I
Petros Triantafyllou
Feb 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Petros by: Ojo
You know you are reading a masterpiece when out of 95 chapters and 5 different POVs, not even one is slightly boring. I have heard a lot of things about Brent Weeks' second trilogy, and most of them have been proved true so far. He has grown up as an author, improving not only his prose and narration but his imagination as well.

"You might want to think twice before you try to use a man's conscience against him. It may turn out he doesn't have one."

The Black Prism is absolutely a work of art. The
Andrew Obrigewitsch
Feb 05, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
This book is really tough for me to rate. The story is a flintlock fantasy. With some really brilliant ideas, a very interesting plot, cool magic system and great action.

"So what's wrong with it?" You may ask, other than the fact that the narrator made the main character sound like a surfer dude.

Well the problem with Brent Weeks' writing is that you feel like you are being told a story by a very creative and imaginative 15 year old boy, with no real life experience and not a lot of study under
Oct 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before I start with my quite lengthy spoiler-free review, I would like to thank 2 of my fellow Goodreads friend, Sarah (Luna) and Haifoun, for letting me know first to prepare for the extremely slow beginning and that eventually the book will get so much better after the first half.

Let me start my review with the con first.

Dear Orholam (God in this book), for those of you who's going to start this series, let me remind you once again, the first 200 pages of this book is extremely slow and honest
Jun 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Weeks fans, fans of epic fantasy
Recommended to carol. by: everybody
Let's be honest; I've been dreading reading this. Why? Because The Night Angel Trilogy ended up a broken promise. Good beginning, steady decline in the quality of characterization and plotting, and, need I mention, a sexist hot mess? At any rate, Weeks seems to have been going for something different here, or at least something more developed--say perhaps, Epic--and it works much better.

Except it's so damn conscious of being epic that I roll my eyes just looking at it--that heft! The matte blac
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Let me write a short review here and then do a side note.

I loved the characters of Kip and Gavin and a few others. I really want to continue on with their story and see where it goes. Especially when I read the part about Gavin and his brother. Uh, mind blown.

There was a part at the beginning of the book that just put me off (and don't ask) and I'm just getting irritated with stuff like that.

Soooooo many of my friends love these books and some are just okay with them. I do have the other curr
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘

Today we're going to talk about something that every reviewer lives at least once in its reading career, that I will call the Is It Too Early To Dnf Syndrome®.

That syndrome sucks big time.

1) Your ereader is failing you, and doesn't count the percentages anymore : don't get it back to the store yet! You're only bored. I know, it's tricky. Sanderson's fans might not show this symptom though : if you like long ass descriptions of how a magic system works, well lucky you, you may not meet boredom (
Dana Ilie
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy
This is a book that I would highly recommend due to its commitment to the pace and knowledge of further books to come. The Black Prism ends on a cliffhanger that sets up the next book quite well. I definitely look forward to returning to the colorful (so clever) world that Brent Weeks has created. The writing is good, the characters engaging and realistic, and the way magic is used is not only unique in its utilitarian application but also the variety of ways in which it is utilized.
Mar 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Update 10/15/17
Re-Read with buddies!
This is one of my favorite epic fantasy series ever and upon re-reads, I'm hardly in a position to recant. Especially now. I'm still thrilled as hell. :)

I can't quite tell whether I love the magic system or the characters more. I absolutely love the smartass "Kip the lip" fat kid whiner turned badass, but it's Gavin Guile that really steals the show. Has there ever been such a complicated character in existence? Charming, devious, uber-powerful, totally evil a
May 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Well, Brent Weeks, you got me. You sucked me in to your polychromatic world, and now I’m going to have to read everything else you’ve written. The Black Prism is the first book in the Lightbringer series, an epic fantasy series with a color-based magic system. There was a truly varied and interesting cast of characters: Kip, a chubby, awkward teenager who has always been a bit of an outcast; Gavin Guile, the Prism and the Most Interesting Man in the World; and Karris, Gavin’s smoking hot bodygua ...more
Crys Harris
Dec 13, 2010 rated it liked it
I am just less than half way through this book and I am not enjoying it. The writing is fine. In fact, Brent Weeks may have developed a bit more dexterity with his prose since the Night Angel trilogy. The problem, so far, is two-fold.

1) Nothing much is happening. I'm not intrigued, drawn in, excited, or even really interested. There is political intrigue at work, but it isn't compelling. There is magic afoot, but it is hard to be in awe of it. I don't even care where this is headed.

2) I don't c
FrEEEEEk-in' fantastic!!! This is really all that must be said, but of course I will say more. Many people that review this book will take the time to recap the plot and give you some character intros, so I am taking the lazy man's road and skipping anything remotely informative about the book itself in my review.

Instead, I will tell of how I felt throughout the book. One of the main objectives in reading is to think and feel something, right? A good book will make you think in circles of confus
Sep 06, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: epic-fantasy, fantasy
I DUNNNOOOOOO. First, I really enjoyed Brent Weeks' other series A LOT, so I was excited about this coming out, and seeing the blurb about the magic system, I was sooo psyched.

I feel like this series was kinda a throwback to like Eddings and Feist and Jordan and those old-school EPIC fantasy series. I have to admit I wasn't really hooked by the characters as much as I would have liked, but overall I ADMIRE what the author is setting up. I guess my biggest beef, other than really not liking the
Mike (the Paladin)
Feb 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, epic-fantasy
I originally set the rating of this book at 4 stars, but decided it needed to be moved up to the 5 star level. I don't find it as good as many of the books I rate 5 stars, but it drew me in and held me tells a story that beats 4 stars. So, without the much lamented 4.5 that so many of us here pine for, I've rated it 5.

So, I like the book and give it the highest rating possible here (albeit noting it's not at the top of my 5 star pile)...what's so good about it? And, if it's not at the top of the
Nov 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, favorites
Wow just wow... So many great fantasy novels I've been stumbling upon lately. I usually reserve the high expectations for any Brandon Sanderson novel, but I was amazed by the beauty and fluidity in Brian McClellan books, and now this evil genius Brent Weeks comes along... Sure, he needs to work on his description capabilities, since several of my friends and I had the exact same comments about the exact same parts then I doubt that we all lack the imagination. Other than that, pure evil genius.. ...more
Deborah Obida
Feb 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: adult, fantasy
This book is so slow at the beginning, almost nothing happened for the first 200 pages, before things picked up and revelations started blowing my mind. I didn’t like the way the author explains the magic system, when you’re reading a very interesting part of the book and one of the characters starts drafting(i.e the magic), the author will stop the dialogue and start explaining the magic, that was done throughout the book, I still don’t know the limits of the magic. The battle scenes in this bo ...more
David Sven
Well paced. Deceptively complex plot, characters and history. Unique and well defined magic system. Intriguing mysteries to be solved. Rewards those who pay attention to detail, which also gives it reread value to catch those details that were skimmed or dismissed the first time round. Held my attention. Surprised me quite a few times. Thoroughly enjoyable.

The magic system in this book, called Chromaturgy, is second to nothing I’ve read to date – and that includes Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy, w
Aug 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*** 4.85 ***

A buddy read with Eon and Sarah La Luna @ the Mecca for Fantasy on GR, BB&B!!!

Epic! Not just the genre of Fantasy, but the book itself - EPIC!!! Brent Weeks has taken the torch of Epic Fantasy with some traditional leanings and is finding his way into our hearts and Favorites Book Shelves.... I am in awe of the magical system BW has chosen to base this World on and am fascinated by the different cultures and how their ethnological and physical differences are conducive to one as
The Black Prism is the first installment in Brent Weeks' second series called Lightbringer. It's an Epic Fantasy with some of the typical ingredients you would expect, but all is kind of twisted to the author's unique style and your enjoyment of the book will highly depend on how much that style works for you.

In total we're following 7 characters, 2 of them being the main protagonists, 2 with a decent amount of "screen-time" and 3 with only a few chapters.
The first of the two main characters is
Aug 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was good. In fact it was very good. The magic system was brilliant. So imaginative and holding boundless opportunities.
I struggled just a little with the characters - the deliberate confusion over who is who actually confused me too much. I needed to know who was the good guy and who I should be rooting for. I am just going to have to read the next book to find out!
The story was action packed and fast paced and very hard to put down. A great read!
Eon ♒Windrunner♒
BB&B reread time with Sarah & Choko. Good times!
Wonderfully enjoyable writing, a bit extremely light on the explanation side of things.

I can defiantly see why so many people love this as much as they say they do!

As already said, the writing is wonderful. its so easy to read and fast to get through which makes you fly through all those pages and not even notice how many there were.

The characters are mostly pretty well done as well, i really enjoy the main character and prism gavin, he is a wonderfully done character with all those twists and
Jan 04, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
So! first review for 2017!

I'm really not sure how to rate this book. Maybe I should draft some colo... Damn, that was closed.
This book is 3.5+.

First thing first, I will have to agree with the 1-star DNF review, because it is really true. I stopped listening to this book more than twice just because of those.

But, I did finish the book. So I can review it.
Brent's immature/unformal writing is cute but that's it, he isn't Rothfuss nor Hobb. I usually don't care but merely stating it, as I think it
Jun 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Black Prism is a fantasy masterpiece. One of the best books I have ever read.

It pulls you in from the very beginning. And has a very unique magic system that continues to amaze you the farther you get into the books. It has flawed characters. It is action packed. Deals with a lot of politics within The Seven Satrapies. And even war.

The world building in this book is fantastic. You learn about pass wars. You learn about every kingdom in the world whether big or small.

Diverse characters are
Natalie Monroe
2.5 stars

Thesis and PhD applications are taking turns driving me in an early grave, so in lieu of a proper review, here are a random assortment of thoughts from the mind that brought you Cynical Natalie and Nice Natalie.

(P.S. They’re still alive. Nice Natalie is knitting booties in preparations for Christmas, and Cynical Natalie is stockpiling coal as projectiles)

✨Kip reminds me of Samwell Tarly, if Sam had a penchant for bad jokes at inopportune moments
✨”Locke opened his mouth to say somethin
Jan 31, 2013 rated it really liked it
I've never read anything by Weeks before & was pretty impressed. His system of magic was interesting, albeit somewhat confusing at times. Actually, I just went with it when people did magic. Weeks tried hard for a rationale, but there were a few too many rules & ways it was used to make complete sense. I assumed he stayed within them, but doubted it at times. Still, that was minor.

Weeks really impressed me with the realistic aspects of the story. Not only did he have complex, imperfect c
Dec 10, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

This was a good story with some interesting twists and a unique (to me) magic system using colors. It didn't rate higher however because I never found myself feeling much for any of the characters. I didn't love or hate anyone so the whole story felt like it was happening at a distance, something I was objectively observing rather than personally experiencing, if that makes any sense. The mark of a four or five star book for me is how necessary reading the next book is to me and, right
Pauline Fireheart
How I hate cliffhangers... (view spoiler)

This book was epic. I was scared of its size but I ended up enjoying every pages.
It was a bit hard to understand the magic system and I still don't comprehend it fully. But I find it really interesting nonetheless!

I'm getting really attached to the characters and I can't wait to continue on with this series.
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Brent Weeks was born and raised in Montana. After getting his paper keys from Hillsdale College, Brent had brief stints walking the earth like Caine from Kung Fu, tending bar, and corrupting the youth. (Not at the same time.) He started writing on bar napkins, then on lesson plans, then full time. Eventually, someone paid him for it. Brent lives in Oregon with his wife, Kristi. He doesn’t own cats ...more

Other books in the series

Lightbringer (5 books)
  • The Blinding Knife (Lightbringer, #2)
  • The Broken Eye (Lightbringer, #3)
  • The Blood Mirror (Lightbringer, #4)
  • The Burning White (Lightbringer #5)
“You might want to think twice before you try to use a man's conscience against him. It may turn out he doesn't have one.” 108 likes
“Moments of beauty sustain us through hours of ugliness.” 101 likes
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